DP10881 The Role of Women in Traditional Agriculture: Evidence From Italy

Author(s): Giovanni Federico, Pablo Martinelli
Publication Date: October 2015
Keyword(s): agriculture, gender roles, Italy
JEL(s): J16, N30, N50, O13, Q12
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10881

Gender roles in the past may affect current perceptions of the 'rightful' place of women in the society, with potential major consequences on economic development. This paper explores the historical roots of gender roles by focusing on female work in agriculture, which accounted for most employment in traditional societies. We rely on a newly compiled data-set of female occupation and crop mix for Italy in the 1930s. We show that crop mix did determine the level of female gainful employment in a complex way. Some products could be classified either ?male-intensive? (like wheat and cow milk) or ?female-intensive? (like corn and beef), but quite a few were largely ?gender-neutral? (like wine and oil).